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29 July 2013

Eduardo Roy Jr.’s “Quick Change” (Review): “The Unattainable Virgin”

(Updated: March 28, 2104) Eduardo Roy Jr.’s “Quick Change” is one my favorite films in the festival.  The story is not an easy sell and moviegoers with an open mind may be the only ones to give this opus a second look.  Nevertheless, “Quick Change” is one of the must-see movies of the year.  Many films have already tackled stories about transgender individuals, but some films were more exploitative than revelatory. Roy’s “Quick Change” rises above the rest.  The movie tells the story of Dorina, a middle-aged transgender living with a younger man and raising his young nephew. 


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What separates “Quick Change” from most gay-themed films is that it is not really about being a homosexual.(1)  It is about living.  Dorina is flesh and blood.  He or she (whatever pronoun you may assign to Dorina) is a three-dimensional character solving personal and economic problems like most Filipinos.  Her conditions may be unique but the pain and complications in her life are not alien to most.  Dorina may not necessarily be the poster girl for the LGBT community but director Roy brings justice to Dorina’s humanity by making her a complex individual rather than a prototype.  Dorina, as a film protagonist, does more service to the community than non-threatening gay characters on television. In a way, by being flesh and blood, Dorina indirectly criticizes the community and the public at large.  You cannot really shove her in a convenient box with a label “immoral faggot.”

Roy also cleverly makes the best social critique of all Cinemalaya entries this year.  The film shows that patriarchy's use for the "feminine" is only for consumption. Patriarchy,  which includes male-oriented Catholicism, impose impossible demands on the "feminine," to the point that the "feminine," whether the biological female or not, loses her humanity.  The Virgin Mary is the ideal woman, impossible to emulate because she is a male construct. Dorina carrying the figure of the immaculate Virgin Mary in her arms is one of my favorite scenes.  Film students should gather and form a discussion group.

4/5
Finally, Roy also brilliantly shows that gay men and women do not see any conflict between their sexual identities and their Christian faith.  Members of the LGBT community go to church and pray. They do benevolent deeds and some act unkindly.  Bottom line, “Quick Change” is a rare gem in Philippine cinema.  Do not miss it.

PERFORMANCE
The heart of the film is Mimi Juareza, who gave one of the best performances in this year’s festival.  She is outstanding in all her scenes, reminiscence of a superb Gina Alajar performance during her peak in the 1980s.  I will not be surprised if Juareza bag an acting award.  Need I say more?

Notes:

(1) One reader commented that gender identity should not be confused with sexual orientation, and so it is erroneous to refer to "Quick Change" as a gay-themed movie. Specifically, my statement "it (the movie) is not really about being homosexual" is problematic, even incorrect. For  the complete comment, please go to the reader's comment below. I personally found the comment enlightening considering that I was once involved in an LGBT NGO group. This just shows you how much we still need to learn from one another. As Socrates claimed to have said, "I only know one thing; that I know nothing." Thankfully, with every mistake, learning comes next.

Thank you to our intelligent readers :-)
________

CINEMALAYA 2013 REVIEW SERIES

NEW BREED Film Reviews
Nuwebe
* The Diplomat Hotel (watched but no review)

DIRECTORS SHOWCASE Film Reviews
* Ekstra
* Liars
* Porno
* Sana Dati

2 comments:

  1. " is is that it is not really about being a homosexual " please people STOP confusing gender identity with sexual orientation, the transgender condition has nothing to do with gender identity! A trans men or a trans woman can be heterosexual, another can be bi, homo, pansexual, asexual … i.e. a trans woman dating only cisgender men can only be understood as heterosexual, a trans men dating only cisgender men is homosexual … Don't you understand? Again gender identity IS NOT sexual orientation. How many time the trans minority will have to correct cisgender people and its journalist before they'll show understanding instead of conflating the tow here, I wonder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your feedback. We appreciate the information and for taking time to enlighten us. Thankfully, we all learn from each other so that misunderstanding will be avoided in the future. Again, thank you.

      Delete

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